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High School Football Power Rankings: Nashoba, Auburn and St. John’s on Top

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


The talented backfield duo of quarterback Drew Smiley (right) and running back Shadrach Abrokwah (left) has made the St. John's offense nearly unstoppable this year.

With four weeks in the books for Central Mass high school football, GoLocalWorcester unveils its first power rankings. With eight unbeatens left in the region, along with several powers that have also impressed, choosing No. 1 wasn't easy.

But, ultimately, the Chieftains of Nashoba Regional got the nod after their impressive win over Holy Name last week. Auburn with its massive offensive line and St. John's with its explosive offense could both make legitimate cases for No. 1 at this point, and defending Division I champ Leominster will certainly hang around the top of the list all season. So, without further ado, here are our rankings.

1. Nashoba: 4-0, 1-0 Mid-Wach B

The defending Division II Super Bowl champs seem to have picked up right where they left off last season. The Chieftains are outscoring opponents by an average of 32 points a game, and that includes a convincing 33-8 win over fellow Central Mass power Holy Name.

Senior running back John Ojukwu leads the powerful Nashoba offense, and exploded for nearly 250 yards and five touchdowns against Holy Name. The Chieftains take the field next at Marlborough this Friday at 7 pm.

2. Auburn: 4-0, 0-0 SWCL A

The Rockets are coming off a 36-0 thrashing of Millbury and look to be on track for another Division III Super Bowl run. Auburn is led by running back Tyler Desjardins, who is averaging an astonishing 11 yards per carry, and a huge offensive line anchored by the 300-plus pound Aaron Dyke.

A huge game looms this week for the Rockets against rival Shepherd Hill. Last season, Shepherd Hill snapped Auburn's 41-game winning streak, then the third longest streak in the country. That SWCL A clash will take place Friday in Auburn at 7 pm.

3. St. John's: 4-0, 1-0 Central Mass

Sophomore quarterback Drew Smiley has looked like a seasoned vet in his first year running the Pioneer offense, throwing for over 900 yards and 8 scores to go with 450 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. His partner in the backfield, senior Shadrach Abrokwah, has been equally impressive, making the St. John's no-huddle, "blur" offense nearly unstoppable this year, to the tune of over 37 points per game. All this coming against a difficult schedule that has already included Western Mass power Longmeadow and Eastern Mass foe Catholic Memorial.

The Pioneers take the field next at home against crosstown rivals Shrewsbury this Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 pm.

4. Leominster: 3-1, 1-0 Mid-Wach A

The defending Division I Super Bowl champion Blue Devils only fall out of the top-3 because of an early season loss to Everett, a squad widely viewed as the state's best team. Since that opening week loss, Leominster has rattled off three consecutive victories by at least two scores, led by a suffocating defense and senior quarterback Garrett DelleChiaie.

The Blue Devils face a test at Wachusett this Saturday. Game is set to start at 3 pm.

5. Northbridge: 4-0, 1-0 SWCL A

Rams coach Ken Lachappelle scored his 300th career victory in style last week, with a 30 point win over rival Southbridge. Northbridge has been feeding senior running back Matt Phelan the ball all year long, and he has delivered with 12 rushing touchdowns on over 10 yards per carry.

Next up for Northbridge is a difficult road test at Grafton this Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 pm.

6. Shepherd Hill: 4-0, 1-0 SWCL A

After back-to-back close calls against St. Peter-Marian and Grafton, the Rams bounced back with a 20-0 win over Gardner last Friday. The Rams were able to get running back Brad Picard going in that game, and they will need that to continue as the schedule gets no easier from here on out.

The Rams take the field next in the aforementioned rivalry game at Auburn.

7. Grafton: 3-1, 0-1 SWCL A

The Indians have only allowed 14 points all season and pitched three shutouts. Unfortunately, those 14 points led to their lone loss against league foe Shepherd Hill, but Grafton was able to bounce back with an impressive 10-0 win over Leicester. Defensive lineman Corey Charpentier has stepped it up on a line that was already playing at a high level. The Indians may just have the best defense in their league.

Next up for Grafton is the aforementioned home showdown with Northbridge.

8. Holy Name: 2-2, 0-1 Central Mass

The Naps were downed by Nashoba last week, but that's hardly reason to knock them out of the top-10. Not with the amazing season running back Quron Wright is having. Wright has already rushed for over 900 yards on only 71 attempts, and found the end zone 11 times. He nearly single-handedly led Holy Name to an upset of St. John's earlier this year as well with a 286-yard, four touchdown performance.Holy Name will look to bounce back this Saturday at home against Inter-High favorite Doherty. Game is set to begin at 2 pm.

9. Shrewsbury: 3-1, 1-0 Mid-Wach A

Since opening the year with a loss to Auburn the Colonials have reeled off three wins, including a come-from-behind victory over Doherty. Senior running back Zach Dionis has broken out in recent weeks, and now leads Shrewsbury with nearly 500 yards on the ground.

The Colonials will face another test this Saturday with the aforementioned game at St. John's.

10. Tyngsborough: 4-0, 1-0 Mid-Wach C

The Tigers have just run away from three opponents this year, but scored a gritty win over league foe Oakmont two weeks ago. Senior running back Chuck Keenan has been phenomenal this year, rushing for over 700 yards and nine scores, and his younger brother Jake has been a more than capable No. 2 in the Tiger backfield.

A road test at Gardner looms for the Tigers this Friday. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.

In the Hunt: West Boylston (4-0), Blackstone Valley Tech (4-0), Groton-Dunstable (3-1), Quabbin (3-1), Doherty (3-1), St. Peter-Marian (2-2) 

West Boylston is still perfect, and both Quabbin and BVT have shown they can throw the ball all over the field. Groton-Dunstable edged Quabbin earlier this year and will certainly have a say in the Mid-Wach C race, while Doherty has a chance to prove itself this week against Holy Name. St. Peter-Marian has faced a brutal early season schedule, but has a solid defense that should be good enough to turn things around.


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